This week the message from the Lord was extremely clear, no need to even remind myself of what He said to me. It's all about the Word and the importance of making the Word of God a priority in one's life, paying careful attention to the Word of God and being obedient to the Word of God. In the same way that everybody is paying attention to another word - WikiLeaks. The word of man. And the revelations that this word is sharing with the world. We here in Jamaica have not been spared being placed under the spotlight by this word of man, as our Minister of National Security has had to spend valuable time defending Jamaica's honor based on the word of man, which suggested that we were being "soft " drug traffickers. Further, the banner headlines in this mornings newspapers are all about this word of man , and how it has exposed the activities of the Mayor of our capital city Kingston, and the Prime Minister's wife, in their attempts to mediate with officials of the US Embassy in the now famous " Dudus Coke saga". Indeed this word of man, WikiLeaks, has brought into the light of day that which was being whispered in the " dark" all across the world. And who knows what will be the consequences of what this word from WikiLeaks has revealed to the world.
We, however, who remain true to the Word of God, while the world shops and parties, and takes out of the Christmas story as recorded in the Bible, what they wish to understand, are under no illusions of the consequences of this Word which was made flesh on the first Christmas. This Glorious Word which was with God in the beginning, and according to John , " was God", and " through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it....The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." Then John further asserts that: " We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth". John 1: 1-14 NIV
So the Word to which we are to give priority in our life, is not one which was brought by a mere man who has had to defend himself from accusations of sinful behaviour in Sweden or defend himself in a court of law in London, and whose word is here for a season and then gone forever. But rather, the Word of God, made flesh in Jesus, and who according to the Bible
" stands forever" and "who knew no sin".
"All men are like grass
and all their glory is like the flowers of the field;
the grass withers and the flowers fall,
but the word of God stands forever".
1 Peter 1: 24-25 NIV
That's why, despite the best efforts, the true meaning of Christmas will always shine through the darkness with eternal consequences. As this Word which became flesh on the first Christmas in Bethlehem in Judah, is the same Word made flesh who died on the cross of Calvary - and as I write, in the background on my computer, is playing: " I am lifting up the name of Jesus", by Helen Baylor - one of the most powerful gospel songs ever recorded. Amen. And praise the Lord , into my mind comes the wonderful Word: " But I, when I am lifted from the earth up will draw all men to myself". John 12:32 NIV. This is why the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among us: that all of who who have sinned and fallen short of God 's glory, the same Glory, of the One and Only, that John saw, may receive grace and mercy and forgiveness of sins through that very same Word. This is the message which makes the joy and peace of Christmas become flesh" in our lives. This is the message which makes " Hark the herald Angels sing, become " flesh in our lives". The word of man as WikiLeaks exposes, comes to embarrass and to shame, but the Word of God in Christ Jesus came to " set free the captives, and give sight to the blind". Of those with HIV/AIDS, those burdened with the sin of prostitution, adultery, addictions, lesbianism and male homosexuality. Burdened with the sin of murder, and rape and lying lips. Burdened with uncontrolled rage, anger, promiscuity and greed. Burdened with the Sin of Adam and in constant rebellion against the God of Israel adn who cry out night and day, " Lord have mercy on me a sinner".
So God of Abraham led me to reflect on two meditations from " Saints " of old. And to send them to members of my own church and persons who wield significant power in my country. Then this morning, another message from His Word.
NOT BY BREAD ALONE.
F.B. Meyer. Verse. Deuteronomy 8:3"
"He humbled you causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your fathers had known, to teach you that man does live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord".
The Old Testament must be worth our study since it was our Savior's Bible, deeply pondered and often quoted. And the New Testament demands it, since it is so full of what he said and did, not only in his earthly life but through the medium of his holy apostles and prophets.The advantages of a deep knowledge of the Bible are more than can be numbered here. It is the storehouse of the promises. It is the sword of the Spirit before which temptation flees. It is the all-sufficient equipment of Christian usefulness. It is the believer's guidebook and directory of all possible circumstances. Words fail to tell how glad, how strong, how useful shall be the daily life of who can say with the prophet: "Thy words were found, and I did eat them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart". (Jeremiah 15:16 KJV)But there is one thing, which may be said last, because it is the most important and should linger in the memory and the heart, though all other exhortations of this chapter should pass away as a summerbrook. It is this. It is useless to dream of making headway in the knowledge of the Scriptures unless we are prepared to practice each new and clearly-defined duty which looms out before our view.
Having read the Jeremiah passage as mentioned in the meditations, clearly not by coincidence, I was led to another reflection, which made the same point - in a different way.
FOOD FOR THE INNER MAN
George Muller Vs. Jeremiah 15:16
The most important thing I had to do was to read the Word of God and to meditate on it. Thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warned, reproved, and instructed.Formerly, when I rose, I began to pray as soon as possible. But I often spent a quarter of an hour to an hour on my knees struggling to pray while my mind wandered. Now I rarely have this problem. As my heart is nourished by the truth of the Word, I am brought into true fellowship with God. I speak to my Father and to my Friend ( although I am unworthy) about the things that he has brought before me in his precious Word.It often astonished me that I did not see the importance of meditation upon Scripture earlier in my Christian life. As the outward man is not fit for work for any length of time unless he eats, so it is with the inner man. What is the food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God- not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water runs through a pipe. No, we must consider what we read, ponder over it, and apply it to our hearts...Meditation on God's Word has given me the help and strength to pass peacefully through deep trials. What a difference there is when the soul is refreshed in fellowship with God early in the morning! Without spiritual preparation, the service, the trials, and the temptations of the day can be overwhelming.
Finally this morning during my devotions came a final Word from 2 Timothy.
"In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge; Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage - with great patience and and careful instruction. For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry."
2. Timothy 4:1-5 NIV
The Lord led me to write a Christmas message today, a bit early, as by the time Sunday comes around we will be looking forward to a New Year, having participated in all the Christmas day activities.
I pray God that His message of the importance of the Word of God that, " became flesh" at Christmas, in the lives of individuals, of a nation, and throughout history, will not be lost in the midst of the excitement and the hype of the season. I pray God that I will enabled to continue to preach the Word in season and out of season, so that the church may be renewed in the Word, and thus help to renew my country, and the countries of the world, which, as the word of man reveals from time to time, through all kinds of media, is desperately in need of renewal.
May the peace of God, as revealed in and through His Word made flesh, even Jesus Christ, attend all our hearts and homes, as we celebrate yet another glorious anniversary of our Lord's birth on Christmas day .